Toy firms could face legal sanctions, says supply expert

Firm warns suppliers, importers and retailers of the need to make changes to coincide with new safety requirements.
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The new Toy Safety Directive, coming into force next year, brings enhanced safety requirements to cope with recently identified hazards.

New provisions strengthen manufacturing controls while placing a greater responsibility on importers and any other businesses in the supply chain.

Mark Bartlett, principal advisor at Exova, commented: “Recent examples have confirmed that the distribution of unsafe toys in the marketplace results in expensive product recalls, the risk of liability action and negative publicity. Of greater importance is the danger to children of non-compliant toys.

“The Toy Safety Directive requires all economic operators involved in the manufacture, supply and distribution chain to ensure the toys they place on the market do not jeopardise the health and safety of children. It is imperative that relevant parties act on this now.”

The European Commission's new Toy Safety Directive will be applicable to toys placed on the market from July 20th, 2011. It applies to all toys manufactured, imported and distributed within the European Union.

Now, any operator that either places a toy on the market under its own name or trademark or modifies a toy will be considered to be the manufacturer and will assume full producer responsibility.

The biggest overall change is with greatly enhanced control measures regarding the presence and use of certain hazardous substances in toys, including allergenic fragrances.

Requirements also include products which, whilst not promoted as toys, are attractive to children and have play value.

There are also new requirements for toys enclosed within food products including a ban on toys firmly attached to a food product where the food must be consumed to get access to the toy.

If the toy is manufactured outside the EU, producer responsibility passes to the importers. These Importers will be responsible for making sure that conformity assessment procedures have been carried out and that product marking and documentation drawn up by manufacturers is available for inspection by enforcement authorities.

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